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On the Origin of Products
The Evolution of Product Innovation and Design

$125.00 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107187658

$ 125.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In this new work, Arthur O. Eger and Huub Ehlhardt present a 'Theory of Product Evolution'. They challenge the popular notion that we owe the availability of products solely to genius inventors. Instead, they present arguments that show that a process of variation, selection, and accumulation of 'know-how' (to make) and 'know-what' (function to realize) provide an explanation for the emergence of new types of products and their subsequent development into families of advanced versions. This theory employs a product evolution diagram as an analytical framework to reconstruct the development history of a product family and picture it as a graphical narrative. The authors describe the relevant literature and case studies to place their theory in context. The 'Product Phases Theory' is used to create predictions on the most likely next step in the evolution of a product, offering practical tools for those involved in new product development.

    • Proposes a new view on product development from an evolutionary perspective
    • Provides a concise and accessible exposition appropriate for students, professionals and general readers
    • Guides readers through the method of evolutionary product development, helping reduce the risk of developing unsuccessful products
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘While evolutionary thinking about innovation has been popular among historians and economists, few have applied it to design and marketing. Based on a thorough reading of theories and a rich set of empirical examples, this book provides a new way for designers to think about new product development in a comprehensive manner.' Koen Frenken, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands

    ‘Theory and practice of product design have evolved strongly in a rather short period. This book describes this development in a detailed way and will, no doubt, be an important resource for research in regard to knowledge and practice of product innovation and design.' Wim Crouwel, Professor Emeritus, Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands

    ‘This book is written at the crossroads of theory-informed engineering and practice-informed technology studies. It should be obligatory reading for industrial designers and product developers as it demonstrates how theoretical understanding of the relations between science, technology, and society can improve product design. But also vice versa: the many examples of product development that are revisited with a designer's eye, show that design practice can fruitfully inform theories of technology development.' Wiebe E. Bijker, Universiteit Maastricht and Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Norway

    ‘This book enriches the conceptual framework concerning the evolution of man-made artifacts, and also offers convincing tools for product strategy and design; a considerable contribution to theory and practice.' Hans Dirken, Former Rector Magnificus and Dean of Industrial Design Engineering Faculty, Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands

    'Eger and Ehlhardt have taken an innovative approach by applying Darwinian evolutionary principles to product design. This provides a richer understanding of the development of products and their potential for future adaptation. Using familiar products as case studies, from light bulbs to car seats, the authors illustrate the theory of product phases and how this can be used to better understand the driving forces on design specification and form. As well as outlining their own theory of new product development, they provide a comprehensive review of the most important theories of product development. This text will provide the student with an excellent grounding in product design theory and the practitioner with an enlightening new approach to the evolution of products. Highly Recommended.' Brian Price, Aston University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107187658
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 182 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. On the origin of products
    2. Technological innovation as an evolutionary process
    3. Lineage
    4. Product evolution
    5. Evolutionary product development: product phases
    6. Retrospective case surveys based on product phases
    7. Retrospective case study of general lighting solutions and the compact fluorescent lamp
    8. Retrospective case study of the child restraint system
    9. Example showing the application of the theory in the work of Maarten Michel
    10. Abstracts of the most important theories used in this book
    11. Conclusion: evolution in products

  • Authors

    Arthur O. Eger
    Arthur. O. Eger is a Professor of Product Design. He has a broad experience in industrial design engineering, wrote and edited over fifteen books, and published over 100 articles and papers. He is a member and Chairman of the Board of the Department of Industrial Design Engineering of KIVI, the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands.

    Huub Ehlhardt
    Huub Ehlhardt has studied Industrial Design Engineering at Technische Universiteit Delft and worked on a Ph.D. project at Universiteit Twente. He has worked over twenty years in different roles in the manufacturing industry.

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